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Although the link between body dissatisfaction and eating disorder (ED) pathology is well-established in general female samples, less is known about contextual body image (CBI) among female athletes. CBI refers to female athletes’ body image concerns in two contexts: sport and daily life. The Contextual Body Image Questionnaire for Athletes (CBIQA) measures four dimensions of body image (Appearance, Thin-Fat Self-Evaluation, Thin-Fat Others’ Evaluation, and Muscularity) in both contexts. In a sample of female collegiate athletes, this study sought to A) investigate the psychometric properties of the CBIQA, B) examine the cross-sectional relation of CBI with ED pathology and negative affect, and C) assess the degree to which CBI prospectively predicts ED pathology and negative affect.


Using self-report data collected from a multi-site parent trial, we examined the psychometric properties of the CBIQA by confirmatory factor analysis. We assessed construct and criterion validity via cross-sectional bivariate correlation analyses with thin-ideal internalization, negative affect, and ED pathology. Using data from Time 1 and 6 months later (Time 2), we investigated the degree to which CBI prospectively predicted ED pathology and negative affect.


Results from the CFA largely confirmed de Bruin et al.’s (2011) original factor analysis. Two CBIQA dimensions (Thin-Fat Self and Appearance) in both contexts correlated with ED pathology and negative affect. Thin-Fat Others also correlated with ED pathology in both contexts and negative affect in the sport context. The Muscularity dimension was predominantly orthogonal with other measures. CBIQA dimensions were uncorrelated with thin-ideal internalization. When controlling for BMI and Time 1 scores, daily life and sport appearance concerns predicted ED pathology, whereas perceived evaluation of thin-fat by others in the sport context predicted negative affect 6 months later.


Results support the psychometric validity of the CBIQA and suggest that it captures variance discrete from thin-ideal internalization. The Muscularity dimension largely was not related to other outcomes. Further, specific elements of perceived self- and other-evaluation in both contexts is relevant to risk for ED pathology and negative affect. Future research could examine the impact of dual body image between sports seasons and after transitioning out of sport.




Springer Nature

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Journal of Eating Disorders

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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